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US President Barack Obama Chats With Prof. (Mrs) Viola Onwuliri, Minister Of Foreign Affairs

By Eastern Arrow News
Onwuliri, Nigeria's New Diplomatic Brawn Cloaked In Intellectual Grace
Onwuliri, Nigeria's New Diplomatic Brawn Cloaked In Intellectual Grace

New York City, October 7: Professor (Mrs) Viola Onwuliri, until her recent appointment as the supervising Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria was yet to have a presence in the global space we can be proud of or relate to. Our first real notice of her, as a new formidable rising star was during the fuel subsidy campaign in January 2011, when she took the best shot of a band of unruly protesters in New York, stood her ground and thwarted efforts to close down the meeting. While standing her ground and accomplishing her objectives was remarkable, even more remarkable was that she did it all in smiles and no sweat.

As reported by a widely read Nigerian news journal, a participant at that meeting, Engr. Sheila Nnadi said “they came to occupy the meeting, but she ended up occupying them….she should claim she occupied Diaspora…Initially I was afraid for her, but when I observed how firm and confident she looked, I was emboldened to joining to confront the unruly protesters, before the police came and remove them from the room, allowing the meeting to continue and conclude successfully…she won my admiration”

Another instance that telegraphed her ruggedness was when she became the first top African government official to declare support for the Libyan opposition. As reported by the Voice of America, she announced that Nigeria has recognized the Libyan rebel council as the "legitimate representative of the Libyan people."The report further stated that “Nigeria's minister of state for foreign affairs, Viola Onwuliri, also called on longtime Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to give up power immediately.”

Against this background and many more instances we were therefore not surprised at her poise, grace and infectious confidence as she represented Nigeria during the recently concluded United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) meeting in New York. Among the high profile events she attended were accompanying Mr. President, Goodluck Jonathan to a bilateral meeting held with President Barack Obama on Monday, 23rd September 2013. During which the US President pledged continuous support for Nigeria's democracy and Counter-Terrorism efforts.

Prof. Onwuliri also attended several multilateral meetings including the following: High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament, the Annual Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers Meeting (CFAMM), the Peace-Building Commission (PBC)/UN Women High Level Ministerial Event on Women's Economic Empowerment for Peace-building, and Counter Terrorism Forum hosted by the US Secretary of State, Senator John Kerry.

In her now characteristic firm but graceful manner, she, during her speech at the High Level Meeting on Nuclear Disarmament said “Nuclear weapons are, by definition, weapons whose sole objective is mass destruction. The question then should be, why is the world planning to mass destruct? Nuclear disarmament is an idea whose time has finally come. Mankind has lived on the edge for too Iong.

It has repeatedly been demonstrated that nuclear weapons are inhumane and unacceptable weapons that should be taken off the list of global armaments, as responsible and respected partners in human development projects”.

She further stated that in response to a question that “Our President, His Excellency President Goodluck Jonathan is committed to continuing strengthening relationships with President Obama and the US, especially in the areas of peace and security, democracy and economic collaboration. I will engage along that framework.”

Ejike Arinze & Prosper Edem
Easter Arrow News